More and more people are beginning to eat a plant-based diet. For some, this is an animal rights decision or environmental choice. Although those are two very worthy causes for living a vegan lifestyle, there are other reasons to adopt a plant-based diet, too. As we learn more about the health consequences of eating animal-based foods, vegan diets are on the rise.
1. Eliminate Disease
A plant-based diet can reduce or eliminate a number of serious diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and others. This was the reason I began eating a plant-based, or vegan, diet. I completely eliminated animal-based products from my diet to combat these diet-related diseases. Even if disease runs in your family, you do not have to suffer that fate. Eating only plants and whole grains can help you avoid sickness, no matter what your genetics may be.
2. Lower Bad Cholesterol
Eliminating animal-based foods from your diet will lower your LDL cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol is one of the leading indicators of heart disease and premature death in our country. People who eat no animal foods have lower LDL cholesterol levels and drastically lower rates of diet-related diseases. Think of grains as “vein scrubbers.” When you eat whole grains, they scrub out the bad cholesterol from your veins and blood stream.
3. More Energy
After you start eating this way, you will notice an increase in energy. Many people believe they need meat to get enough iron, but plants have all the nutrients you will ever need to keep you healthy and active. Leafy greens are packed with iron. When you eat this way, within only a few days, you will start to feel more awake and alert. Once you experience this feeling, you will be inspired to continue eating a vegan diet.
4. Plants Have Protein
An average-sized woman needs about 50-grams of protein a day. You can easily fulfill this requirement with beans and vegetables. If you like soy products, it’s even easier to get your daily requirement of protein. Consider the fact that there are many vegan athletes in the world. These athletes prove that you do not need to eat animal products to have strength and endurance.
5. Lose Weight
Unless you are often splurging on refined sugar, flour and oils, you will lose excess weight by eating a plant-based diet. A well-balanced vegan diet allows you to eat as much as you need, without feeling deprived. If you are a past dieter, isn’t nice to know you no longer need to measure or weigh your food? During the first few days, if you are detoxing from sugar, your body will crave refined sugar and flour. However, once you get over the hump, your cravings will disappear and you will undoubtedly lose weight.
6. Economical Way to Eat
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to spend more money to eat healthy. If you think you are saving money by eating fast food from the dollar menu, you are fooling yourself. Grains, beans, frozen vegetables and fresh produce can easily fit within a limited grocery budget. Beef and chicken cost much more than beans. Don’t buy into the lie that unhealthy food is cheaper because that isn’t necessarily true.
7. Investment in Your Future
When I started eating a plant-based diet, some people told me it was “too drastic.” Well, I believe that heart disease and the need to undergo open heart surgery is a “drastic” way to live, too. You are investing in your future when you change your eating habits in this way. There is nothing weird or drastic about eating a plant-based diet. You are simply eating real food, the way nature intended it to be eaten.
Living a vegan lifestyle is much easier than you may think. Do you eat a plant-based diet? If not, what is holding you back?